This study examines the hypothesis that the effect children have on their parents' marriages is due to stress in the parental role. A multivariate model was specified to assess the relationship between fathers' and mothers' parenting stress and their psychological well-being and perception of marital quality. In addition, the effects of 6 other variables were assessed: 2 competing roles (mother's employment and household division of labor), 2 children-related variables (number and age composition), marital duration, and economic distress. Data were collected from both the husband and the wife in 287 intact couples who had children living at home. Using structural equation modeling, data from both parents were analyzed jointly to assess the mutual effect of the spouses on one another. The findings indicated that, for both fathers and mothers, parenting stress was affected by the number of children and economic distress, but not by other roles (wife's employment and household division of labor). For both spouses, psychological well-being and perceived marital quality were affected negatively by parenting stress. Significant association was found between husbands' and wives' parenting stress, as well as a mutual effect of their perceived marital quality on each other. Some theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)